Virtual schools are taking off in America. A virtual school is one where classes are conducted on the Internet. They have real teachers at one end and real students at the other.
According to a U.S. Department of Education publication in 2009, students who participated in online classes performed better, on average, compared to those who took the same courses using the traditional face-to-face instruction. Many are saying that online learning has the potential to radically expand the opportunities for education of American students.
How Online Learning Differs from Traditional Learning
Virtual learning is very different from the traditional concept of education, which involves a classroom and a teacher standing in front of a row of desks. In a virtual classroom, classes are conducted through the use of a computer. However, take note that while there are online learning programs that allow students to learn from their homes, there are also those that are located in a physical location like a school. Students in these virtual schools still need to go out of their homes and go to the building where the virtual classes are conducted. Still, classes in this type of virtual school are conducted online.
Virtual schools offer online programs that are either comprehensive or complementary to a child’s education. For those who are enrolled in a full-time learning program, they don’t need to attend classes in a regular school since the courses are conducted online. On the other hand, supplemental programs involve individual courses where students can take programs in an online setting to add to their instruction in a traditional classroom setup.
Interaction with Instructors
There are various ways of how online learning can be delivered. Some attend classes conducted by instructors in real-time. Others choose classes that allow the students to learn at their own pace depending on their time schedules. Teachers also provide feedback, usually based on the assignments given. The same as a traditional university setup, regular communication between students and teachers is required, although communication can be done using different media forms, like through the phone, email, instant messaging or video conferencing.
More Computer Time
Courses are conducted online in virtual schools. Students have to be adept at using the most basic computer programs required for learning. As they learn online, they also get to learn using educational tools, like Kami, to facilitate their learning. In traditional learning, there is less time spent on computers since the lessons are conducted face to face.
Are Virtual Schools for Everyone?
Online school is also best for those who are comfortable with technology since a significant amount of learning time is spent in front of a computer screen. Virtual schools allow greater freedom for students when it comes to time as well as the pace of one’s learning. Thus, students who enroll in online courses have to be responsible and motivated to study in the comfort of their homes. There is not the same amount of supervision in virtual schools compared to regular universities, so students need to be responsible for their own learning.
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